I was very excited to accept a PM position after a relatively lengthy interviewing process with a small local company.

There was an extended wait before my start date due to a change in management responsibilities. I started the job on a Monday and was known throughout my “meet and greet” meetings as the “new PM”.

However, on day two, a staff meeting was held in my department to discuss the “restructure”. I was extremely surprised to learn that I had been given a much lesser position of assistant. I discussed this with the manager later and was somewhat satisfied with the answers.

After having nearly a week to think it over and process what happened and realizing how thoroughly different the job is from what I accepted, I’m ready to leave. I have zero trust and no motivation.

Is this a common practice? Any thoughts? I know they can do essentially whatever they want in my “at-will” state. I’m just crushed.

  • Im sorry, what do you mean by "at will state"?
    – DarkCygnus
    Commented Oct 6, 2017 at 3:24
  • 2
    @GrayCygnus Some states in the US employee people "at-will," meaning they can typically dismiss them for any reason without warning. This also means many employees accept employment on the basis of an offer letter rather than a bona fide contract.
    – CKM
    Commented Oct 6, 2017 at 4:52
  • @CMosychuk thanks for clearing that out, now I am sure what that means. Knowing that makes me think now that the company is really putting the OP in a disadvantage, by changing at their pleasure the job description plus having the OP hanging on a thread. Still, I hold my answer given.
    – DarkCygnus
    Commented Oct 6, 2017 at 5:04
  • 1
    While this definately sucks there is not question for us to help with. Commented Oct 6, 2017 at 8:06

5 Answers 5


Is this a common practice?

No, it's not, usually you get the role you negotiated for.

Unless you a taking a drop in pay as well, then it might be worth sticking it out while you job hunt rather than risking termination by making too much out of it. You have already had that conversation, it is now time to plan and move forwards. Keep your plans to yourself until you can realise them.

  • > " I’m ready to leave. I have zero trust and no motivation. Is this a common practice? Any thoughts?" - That is why "no one" would ever shaft a new employee like that. Some places build their business on doing that and knowing you'll accept, so they tell you whatever and do whatever. In my area if any employer comes up with 'an idea' (and surrounding pay too little) no one recommends any work be sent to that area. That cleans it out except for the richest landowners who likely rent or lease to the others. We've kicked out Bayer and Bombardier along with a kick in the head to Toyota.
    – Rob
    Commented Oct 7, 2017 at 2:19

Is this a common practice? Any thoughts? 

I think that if the job turned out to be different from what you expected and agreed on contract, and that is not a good fit for you, then you are in your full rights to leave for a job you do want, and actually signed for.

Probably you should have done it before, when they explained the changes, but not always can one foresee what changes like that may really mean.

However, given that it has been just a few days it is ok to do the move now, but don't delay it any further. Be sure you do have other options ready when you decide to jump.


If your contract indicates that termination will be "for cause" (that is, in a way that excludes termination "for no cause"), then that overrides whether or not employment is at-will in your jurisdiction.

More important is whether your actual position is documented anywhere. If it's not, I would be concerned about the actual PM screwing up and the blame being shifted on you under the pretext that -according to the contract- you are the PM. Given that the company acted deceived you at hiring, it is not far-fetched to imagine it could proceed fraudulently in other matters.


Common practice or not, always remember that working on lesser position will not help you sharpening your skills nor you can expect other company you join after leaving current company to provide you significant increase in salary because your experience as PM has not increased.

Since you have not mention about position earlier joining current company I just like to add that new company if you join they also may notice that your position was also reduced to lower as assistant.

I know they can do essentially whatever they want in my “at-will” state. I’m just crushed.

I've noticed from other posters that one glaring fact hasn't been addressed. Your offer letter and contract form a legal agreement between you and the employer.

By changing the role you accepted without giving reasonable notice, your employer is in breach of said contract. Especially if the role is explicitly stated on the contract. Dependent on your local employment laws and wording of your contract, you may have grounds to sue the employer for a gross breach of contract.

In answer as to whether it's common practice? No, because it generally opens the employer up to litigation, even in at-will states.

  • Most people I'm aware of in the US don't have what would be considered a contract. Typically, after the interview process, you get a letter, you reply back with an accept, then you are employed with the company until you are not. I don't think there is a legal obligation on either part.
    – bluegreen
    Commented Oct 6, 2017 at 16:42

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